The Political Arena with Alexander Heffner Launches Its Spring Season with More Big Names and Hot Topics
March 30, 2007
— Phillips Academy’s student radio impresario, Alexander Heffner, is gearing up for another season of his political and public affairs radio program. The Political Arena with Alexander Heffner airs on the student-run WPAA radio network on Thursday evenings from 9:00 to 10:00 p.m. EST.
This spring line-up brings a rich variety of high profile politicians, journalists, and intellectuals to campus—including Jim Lehrer, Andrea Mitchell, Sen. Warren Rudman, Roger Simon and Greta Van Susteren—as well as a number of 2008 presidential candidates including Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA).
The season kicked-off on Thursday, April 12 with Warren Rudman, former senator from New Hampshire. The evening’s topic was the future of the Republican Party.
The full line-up includes:
- Michael Asimow, professor of law emeritus at UCLA School of Law, on political and legal representations in film;
- Matt Bai, contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine, on the future of the Democratic Party;
- Peter Beinart, editor-at-large of The New Republic, on liberalism in American society and foreign policy;
- Charlyne Berens, professor of journalism at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, on Chuck Hagel and the other 2008 Republican presidential hopefuls;
- Joe Cirincione, senior vice president for National Security at the Center for American Progress, on nuclear power, non-proliferation, and Islamic extremism in the 21st century;
- Paul Gigot, editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal, Jim Lehrer, executive editor and anchor of PBS’s Newshour with Jim Lehrer, and Chris Wallace, host of Fox News Sunday, on the American news media;
- Andrea Mitchell, chief foreign affairs correspondent for NBC News, on her journalism career and the state of international affairs;
- Vali Nasr, professor of national security affairs at the Naval Post-Graduate School (Center for Contemporary Conflict) and Reza Aslan, acclaimed author and Middle East analyst for CBS News, on cultural, political, and religious issues in the Middle East and the struggle over Islam;
- Dana Priest, staff writer for the Washington Post, on the Iraq war debate, the condition of veterans’ hospitals, and care of veterans;
- Stuart Rothenberg, editor and publisher of the Rothenberg Political Report, on the political headlines of the week;
- Alan Schroeder, associate professor of journalism at Northeastern University, on the American presidential debates and the 2008 presidential election;
- Roger Simon, chief political columnist for Politico, on the political headlines of the week;
- Greta Van Susteren, host of On the Record with Greta Van Susteren on Fox News, on the media’s impact on the legal process; and
- Jeffrey Toobin, CNN legal analyst, on the dismissals of U.S. attorneys, the Scooter Libby trial, and other legal controversies.
Heffner has established a reputation for provocative discussions with high visibility guests on his programs. The weekly programs normally are available on the Academy intranet, which is accessible at www.wpaa.com to students, faculty, parents, and alumni. His two recent specials—Election Night 2006 and the State of the Union Address in January—were broadcast on-line. Heffner’s past interviews are archived on the WPAA Website.
The full list of guests for the spring schedule will be complemented with a mix of elected public officials and other political candidates who will appear as they are available. These will be posted on the station’s Web site.
Following are biographical sketches of the guests who have signed on to appear with Heffner during his spring series:
Michael Asimow, a longtime law professor at UCLA where he is now emeritus, is co-author of Reel Justice: The Courtroom Goes to the Movies (1996), written with Paul Bergman, which covers the great courtroom films of the past and present. He has written Law and Popular Culture: A Course Book (2004), with Shannon Mader. Asimow has also co-authored leading textbooks on administrative law, and has published various articles on lawyers and law firms in film, as well as on comparative administrative law in South Africa.
Reza Aslan is an internationally acclaimed writer and scholar of religions, and serves as a regular commentator for NPR’s Marketplace as well as Middle East Analyst for CBS News. He has written for the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, Slate, the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, the Guardian, the Chicago Tribune, the Nation and other publications. He has also appeared on Meet the Press, Hardball, The Daily Show, Real Time with Bill Maher, The Colbert Report, Anderson Cooper and Nightline. His first book, No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam, has been translated into half a dozen languages, was short-listed for the Guardian (UK) First Book Award, and nominated for a PEN USA award for research non-fiction. Born in Iran, he makes his home in Santa Monica, Calif., where he is a research associate at the University of Southern California’s Center on Public Diplomacy. His next book, How To Win a Cosmic War: Why We’re Losing the War on Terror will be published in the fall of 2008.
Matt Bai is a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine, for whom he covered the 2004 presidential campaign. After beginning his career at the Boston Globe, Bai spent five years as a national correspondent for Newsweek. A former Pulitzer Traveling Fellow and Harvard Institute of Politics Resident Fellow, Bai is working on a book about, in his description, “this moment in democratic politics and a group of people who are trying to rebuild a democratic movement,” to be published in 2007.
Peter Beinart is editor-at-large of The New Republic (TNR) and a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He was the editor of TNR from November 1999 until March 2006. He writes TNR’s weekly TRB column, which is reprinted in the New York Post and other newspapers. He also writes a monthly, syndicated column for the Washington Post, and regularly writes the “Essay” which appears on the back page of Time. He has been widely published in major newspapers and magazines nationwide, has been a regular guest on a number of nationally broadcast news and talk shows, and is the author of The Good Fight: Why Liberals—And Only Liberals—Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again.
Charlyne Berens is an associate professor in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL), where she teaches courses in news reporting and editing, the First Amendment, and media and society issues. She is the author of Chuck Hagel: Moving Forward, which is the first comprehensive biography of Nebraska’s senior senator and potential 2008 presidential candidate. She has written an autobiography of State Senator Jerome Warner, Leaving Your Mark, and is completing a book on the Nebraska legislature. Before joining the UNL faculty, Berens was co-publisher and editor of the Seward County Independent, a community newspaper, for 14 years.
Joe Cirincione joined the Center for American Progress in May 2006, after serving as director of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace for eight years. He currently teaches at the Graduate School of Foreign Affairs at Georgetown University, and is a member of both the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies. For nine years, Cirincione worked in the U.S. House of Representatives on the professional staffs of the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Government Operations. He also was director of the Military Reform Caucus. He is the author of Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons; Deadly Arsenals: Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Threats; and co-author of Universal Compliance: A Strategy for Nuclear Security.
Paul Gigot is the editorial page editor and vice president of The Wall Street Journal. He is responsible for the newspaper’s editorials, op-ed pieces, arts and entertainment criticism, and directs the editorial pages of the Journal’s Asian and European editions as well as the OpinionJournal.com web site. He also hosts the weekly half-hour news program, The Journal Editorial Report, on the Fox News Channel. Since joining the Journal in 1980, Gigot has reported from Chicago, Asia, the Philippines, and Washington. He has won an Overseas Press Club Award for reporting in the Philippines, and the coveted Pulitzer Prize for commentary for his “Potomac Watch” column.
Jim Lehrer anchors The Newshour with Jim Lehrer, PBS’s nightly news show, a position he has held for many years. Previously, he co-anchored the show with Robert MacNeil. His career has included newspaper reporting, fiction and non-fiction writing, and playwriting. He has also moderated nationally televised debates in the last five presidential elections. He is the recipient of the National Humanities Medal, and the George Foster Peabody Broadcast Award, one of the most prized in journalism.
Andrea Mitchell has been chief foreign affairs correspondent for NBC News since November 1994, where she reports on evolving foreign policy issues for all NBC News broadcasts, including NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, Today, and cable channels CNBC and MSNBC. In 2005, she published her first book, Talking Back, a memoir of her experiences as one of the first women to cover five presidents, Congress, and foreign policy. Mitchell received the prestigious Goldsmith Career Award for Excellence in Journalism from the John F. Kennedy School of Government in 2005, and in 2004 the Radio–Television News Directors Association (RTNDA) honored her with the Mitchell Zeidenberg Award for her contribution to the protection of First Amendment freedoms.
Vali Nasr, a professor in the Department of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School, has also taught at Tufts University, the University of San Diego, and the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of Democracy in Iran and most recently, The Shia Revival: How Conflicts with Islam Will Shape the Future. He has written extensively on political Islam and comparative politics of south Asia and the Middle East.
Dana Priest covers the intelligence community and national security issues for the Washington Post, and also serves as an analyst for NBC News. In her 20 years with the Post, Priest has written extensively on the CIA’s covert counterterrorism operations around the world, the agency’s secret rendition and detention practices, the intelligence lapses involving the Sept. 11 plot, and the failure of pre-war intelligence in Iraq. As the Post’s Pentagon correspondent, Priest spent seven years covering such stories as the invasion of Panama in 1989, the first Gulf War in 1990, and the war in Kosovo in 1999. In 2006, Priest was recognized for her coverage of CIA secret prisons and overseas counterterrorism operations with the Pulitzer Prize for beat reporting, the George Polk Award for national reporting, and the Overseas Press Club’s Bob Considine Award for interpretation of international affairs.
Stuart Rothenberg is editor and publisher of the Rothenberg Political Report, a non-partisan political newsletter covering the U.S. House and Senate, as well as gubernatorial campaigns, Presidential politics, and political developments. He also writes a column twice a week for Roll Call, Capitol Hill’s premier newspaper. Rothenberg has appeared on Meet the Press, This Week, Face the Nation, the Newshour, Nightline and many other television news programs. During the 2006 election, Rothenberg served as a political analyst for CBS News. Prior to that, he was an on-air political analyst for CNN for more than a decade, including election nights from 1992 through 2004. He has also done on-air analysis for the Voice of America.
Warren B. Rudman is a former U.S. Senator from New Hampshire, serving two terms, from 1980 to 1992. President Clinton appointed him chairman of the president’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, where he served from 1993 to 2001. Along with former Senator Gary Hart, Senator Rudman co-chaired the United States Commission on National Security/21st Century, which issued its report, Roadmap for National Security, calling in 2001 for the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security. He joined the firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP as a partner in 1993, and became of counsel to the firm in 2003.
Alan Schroeder is an associate professor of journalism at Northeastern University. A Kansas native, Schroeder began his career as a newspaper reporter, but soon moved on to television news where he worked as a producer in various markets—Wichita, Denver, and Boston. He is a graduate of Wichita State University and Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He is the author of Presidential Debates: 40 Years of High-Risk TV. He has been quoted as an expert source by the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the BBC, CBS, CN, MSNBC, C-SPAN. Fox News, and National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, Fresh Air, and Morning Edition.
Roger Simon is the chief political columnist for the new multi-media political news outlet, Politico.com, which was launched in January. He is based in Washington, DC. He grew up on the South Side of Chicago where politics, he says, “is a contact sport.” At the Chicago Sun-Times he wrote four columns a week. Simon has also served as a columnist for the Baltimore Sun, White House correspondent for the Chicago Tribune, and political editor of U.S. News and World Report. He is also a best-selling author. Simon has won more than three dozen first-place journalism awards, and is the only recipient of two Distinguished Writing Awards for Commentary from the American Society of Newspaper Editors. He is a three-time winner of the National Headliner Award, and has had his work included in the collection Best Newspaper Writing in America for three different years.
Jeffrey Toobin, CNN legal analyst for CNN worldwide, is based in the network’s New York bureau. He joined CNN in 2002 after serving ABC as a legal analyst for seven years, during which time he covered a number of high profile cases such as the O.J. Simpson civil trial and the Kenneth Starr investigation of the Clinton White House. In 2000, Toobin received an Emmy Award for his coverage of the Elian Gonzales custody saga. Toobin remains a staff writer for the New Yorker, where he has been covering legal affairs since 1993. He has written articles of such subjects as former Attorney General John Ashcroft, the 2001 dispute over Florida’s votes for president, the Paula Jones sexual harassment case, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ confirmation battle, and the trial of Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh.
Greta Van Susteren joined Fox News Channel in 2002 as host of the primetime and interview program On the Record with Greta Van Susteren. It has become the highest rated cable news show in the 10 p.m. timeslot. Previously, Van Susteren spent more than 10 years with CNN, hosting its primetime news and analysis show, The Point with Greta Van Susteren, co-hosting the daily legal program, Burden of Proof, and contributing analysis of high-profile cases such as the O.J. Simpson criminal and civil trials, and the Elian Gonzales custody case. She also played an integral role in the legal analysis of CNN’s coverage of Election 2000, for which she won the American Bar Association’s Presidential Award for Excellence in Journalism.
Chris Wallace, now host of Fox News Sunday, spent 15 years at ABC News where he served as senior correspondent for Primetime Thursday and as a substitute host for Nightline. Prior to joining ABC News, Wallace was with NBC News where he was chief White House correspondent from 1982 to 1989. During his NBC years, Wallace covered the 1980, 1984, and 1988 presidential campaigns as well as both the Democratic and Republican conventions. From 1987 to 1988 Wallace anchored Meet the Press, and anchored the Sunday edition of NBC Nightly News from 1982 to 1984 and 1986 to 1987.